Scorpio New Moon: Mars & Pluto

andrew wyeth dryad

Dryad by Andrew Wyeth

New Moon in Scorpio

New Moons are a time of darkness.  In alignment, we go within our own darkness and set intentions for the forthcoming lunar cycle as our Moon regenerates in the heart of our Sun.  Scorpio is a zodiac sign also associated with the dark and the hidden, as well as transformation.  We have been experiencing an intense period of Scorpio amplification and a collective catharsis in correlation that has brought attention to stories of misuse of power too often denied, including revelations around sexual abuse that further link to Scorpio significations of sex, power and control dynamics.  Scorpio brings to the surface what needs to be revealed for regeneration, and so we have been experiencing a collective purging necessary to bring more widespread awareness to the suffering caused by sexual predation.  Our entrance into the year long transit of Jupiter in Scorpio has quickly been bringing awareness to what’s been lurking in the shadows, and with Venus as well as the Sun and Moon now in Scorpio we are invited to dig even deeper.  The darkness of Scorpio is ultimately the nurturing kind, the rich soil lying fecund underneath us that awaits fertilization and the metamorphic reemergence of colorful growth.  It is vital to carefully cultivate the seeds you are germinating when the Scorpio New Moon arrives on November 18.

The influx of Scorpio energy has been magnified further by the sign of Scorpio forming a square aspect with the signs of Leo and Aquarius that the lunar nodes have been transiting through.  The Sun and the Moon both faced off with the lunar nodes in the week leading up to the Scorpio New Moon, while Venus and Jupiter are heading toward a square with the lunar nodes.   The Scorpio New Moon also forms a square with the degrees of both the recent Leo eclipses (Leo Lunar Eclipse on February 10;  Leo Solar Eclipse on August 21) as well as the Aquarius Solar Eclipse coming later in February 2018, further signifying a time of collective crossroads.  Planets squaring the nodes force their associated issues to be dealt with, and so the Scorpio activation has been exposing the misuse of power by those desiring Leo ambitions of fame and status.  The lunar nodes in Aquarius and Leo bring the opportunity to discover ways of being more empowered and passionately living life more fully while also respecting the boundaries of others.  The influence of Scorpio further points to the necessity of living from one’s inner authority of ethics, purifying and shedding the toxic conditioning elements of culture such as misogyny.

The Scorpio New Moon is particularly intense due to the closely applying square between Mars in Libra with Pluto in Capricorn.  Any exact square between Mars and Pluto at a lunation is extremely catalytic, but in this case it is even more powerful due to Mars ruling the New Moon and Pluto also having modern associations with rulership over Scorpio.  Mars in Libra is in the home of Venus and a sign that is in polarity to its own home of Aries.  Mars in Libra is the warrior and protector of social justice, but to achieve this Mars must find a balanced expression that requires restraint at times, more so than direct and impulsive action.  With Mars transiting Libra while forming a square with Pluto, anger and tempers will be quick to flare over issues of oppression.  In their dynamic Mars is in the superior position of being in the tenth place from Pluto and so in position to overcome Pluto.  However, there is an old Hellenistic astrology concept of “striking with a ray” which leads to the interpretation that the dominant power structure (Pluto in Capricorn) will strike back hard to impede social activists (Mars in Libra) from gaining ground.

Andrew Wyeth carry

Carry by Andrew Wyeth

One of the keys of the Scorpio New Moon is to discern how to flow with the currents of power for the greater good.  It is an opportune New Moon for making intentions with regard to long term goals and where you want to place your daily focus in expending energy and initiative.  In natal charts, the aspect of Mars square Pluto can be challenging in terms of having grandiose vision and ambition and then being faced with all of the barriers to overcome in the process of manifestation.  These barriers involve both external and internal issues, and similarly the collective experience of this transit brings to the surface whatever has been in the way of achieving goals and developing plans.  Realizations can emerge more easily than normal regarding what we need to separate from and sever with regards to our desires.

Notably Mars is exchanging signs with Venus in Scorpio, as Mars is in the home of Venus and Venus is in the home of Mars.  This further means that both Venus and Mars are in signs that are opposite their domicile placements of Taurus (Venus) and Aries (Mars).  The influence of Venus in Scorpio makes the drive for justice with Mars in Libra more obsessive and more willing to penetrate to the depths of current circumstances.  Venus in Scorpio is forming an integrative sextile with Pluto in Capricorn, and so there is a higher lesson available in terms of how to change our own attitudes and behavior to have greater integrity as well as how to engage and listen to others coming from different perspectives and backgrounds more effectively.  However, in reality this combination will more readily lead people into heated conflict and so keep this in mind when navigating difficult situations.  When Mars and Pluto collide like this at a Scorpio lunation, there are explosive undercurrents to deal with.

Andrew Wyeth Wind from the Sea

Wind from the Sea by Andrew Wyeth

We make our way through Everything like thread passing through fabric: giving shape to images that we ourselves do not know.

–Rainer Maria Rilke, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Another massive influence over the Scorpio New Moon comes from dreamy Neptune, as it will station direct as the Moon begins to wax in light on November 22.  Planets stationing saturate the astrological atmosphere with their influence, particularly in the case of Neptune as it will open awareness to aspects of reality normally invisible or veiled to “normal” modes of mundane perception.  Neptune has been moving retrograde since June 16, and so it is worthwhile to reflect back upon the past five months of Neptune’s backward movement.

As Neptune stations we can feel a dissolution of interior complexes and exterior structures, and an opening of awareness to a sense that we can be perceiving through a focus of consciousness that is different from our past. It can feel like we are opening to a message outside our known reality, as Neptune is a far-out planet bridging our solar system to what revolves beyond, or it can feel like a current rising from deep within our depths. We can experience moments of realization within a flood of former boundaries dissolving, yet the tendency is to fall back again into the security of the old reality instead of following the seemingly mystical call we fear is merely an illusion.  Confusion and disorientation can engulf us when we look to our former self image to provide stability, as under these waves we feel the superficial structure of its facade.

Making all of Neptunes significations even more impactful is the additional transit of Jupiter in Scorpio applying to a trine with Neptune in Pisces as it stations.  Since Jupiter’s rulership connects it directly into the Mars and Pluto square, we will be more likely to feel enough passion and motivation to set sails in the direction the Neptunian wind and current is leading us.  Jupiter will form its first exact trine with Neptune on December 2 as the Moon waxes toward the upcoming Gemini Full Moon.  As I wrote recently on the trine between Jupiter in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces that will be a dominant influence in the year ahead:

“Like a Bodhisattva willing to return and return again in order to help enlighten and liberate others, Jupiter in Scorpio will support persevering through uncomfortable truths in order to engage the world wholeheartedly and to compassionately serve the greater good.  Jupiter in Scorpio will support testing and probing our beliefs, discovering where we are truly being mindful in the moment and where we have been led into deception.”

Andrew Wyeth trodden weed

Trodden Weed by Andrew Wyeth

Venus is important to reflect upon at the New Moon not only because it is co-present with the lunation in Scorpio and applying to a square with the lunar nodes, but also because it has entered it’s liminal phase of invisibility, disappearing from morning skies under the beams of the Sun.  At this point in her cycle, Venus is on the far side of the Sun from us slowly approaching her Superior Conjunction with the Sun that will eventually occur at nineteen degrees of Capricorn on January 8, 2018.  Since Venus is heading toward a union with our Sun that will occur in close proximity to Pluto in Capricorn, there is a degree of foreshadowing happening in terms of Pluto being tightly bound to the meaning of the Scorpio New Moon.  As Venus descends into the underworld of her invisible phase, we may notice elements of past Venusian attachments stripping away while other elements of Venusian desire begin to take on greater prominence.

Finally, it is important to realize that we have the waxing half of the forthcoming lunar cycle to bask in the glory of Mercury shining bright as an Evening Star on its way toward a union with Saturn near the degrees of our Galactic Center.  Mercury will ultimately station retrograde close in timing with the upcoming Full Moon in Gemini, but within the darkening twilight of the Scorpio New Moon the Star of Hermes continues to bring illumination.  While this is a strong phase of Mercury for reflection and integration of recent experiences, we have also already entered the “Mercury retrograde shadow zone” of the zodiacal terrain that Mercury will later return to retrograde a second time, ultimately moving back through again a third time.  Therefore, its a good idea to check out the range of the upcoming Mercury retrograde from thirteen to twenty-nine degrees of Sagittarius and how it impacts your natal chart, and beginning to sense if you can feel what changes are coming with the upcoming retrograde movement and what elements of your life with become an important focus of attention as we head into 2018.

7_cups_RWS_lg

7 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 3 Decan

The New Moon falls in the third face of Scorpio associated with the Seven of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image each of the seven chalices holds an embodiment of a desire, such as fame, fortune, lust and other earthly powers.  The veiled figure in the center brings to mind the burning desire of Sophia in gnostic texts to gain ultimate understanding, a desire it is said that cast a veil whose shadow became the material world we traverse often overwhelmed by desire like the shadowy figure in the image.  Some interpret the image as signifying that through discernment we may choose to follow the one desire that will bring clarity needed to make choices aligned with our inner values and desires.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces linked the Seven of Cups to the third face of Scorpio through their shared meaning of becoming dominated by obsessive desires.   Coppock ascribed the image of “A Crow” to the third decan of Scorpio, noting that the essence of this face involves the putrefaction of desire that leads to direct contact with the nature of desire.  Coppock posited that through the loss of unfulfilled desire, the process of separating our desire from the external objects of desires brings the ability to reseed and regenerate core desires.  Coppock wrote that the third face of Scorpio contains a “formula of liberation, for if we were not capable of laying our desires to rest, returning them to pure energy, we would be enchained forever, prisoners of what we once held dear.”

While Coppock pointed out that many older images associated with the decan hold the symbolism of drunken, uncontrolled desires of a ferocious and violent quality, I am most intrigued by an image in the Liber Hermetis that contains “a human body and the form of a he-goat, holding eggs hanging from a thread in both hands.”  The eggs strung by thread suggests to me a meaning we can find in the final face of Scorpio that involves the fertility of destiny and the ripening of the moment.  Along these lines, it is further fascinating to consider that the ancient Hellenistic fragmentary text 36 Airs ascribed Kairos to the third face of Scorpio.  You are likely familiar with the term kairos referring to the opportune moment for something to occur that is not confined to the demands of chronological time.  Yet Kairos in Greek myth was the youngest son of Zeus as well as the lover of Fortuna, an embodiment of luck and favorable opportunities.  Kairos was seen as always moving with winged feet, carrying a razor or scales that represent the fleeting moment in which opportunity comes and goes, the moment we need to seize and not neglect.

The Moon rules the third face of Scorpio in the triplicity rulership scheme, lending added potency to the New Moon and unlocking the gates of this decan’s meaning.  The square from Mars to Pluto brings the fires of urgency to the moment so that we will be ready to take action when the opportune moment arises.  The time has come to let go of what has come to pass, opening fully to the soulful desires felt within the presence of our quiet contemplation.

Joy is inexpressibly more than happiness. Happiness befalls people, happiness is fate, while people cause joy to bloom inside themselves.  Joy is plainly a good season for the heart; joy is the ultimate achievement of which humans are capable.

— Rainer Maria Rilke

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Rilke, Rainer Maria (2006). Letters on Life. Edited and translated by Ulrich Baer. The Modern Library Classics.

Scorpio Full Moon

Ernst the Sea

The Sea (1928) by Max Ernst

Full Moon in Scorpio

As the Moon in full light illuminates the darkness of the surrounding landscape, you pause on your journey to draw water from a well.  The well is ancient and contains within its well worn stones the stories of generations and generations who have passed this way before you.  Feeling the nourishment of water quenching your depths, the primal vitality of your flowing blood circulates through your senses.  Your mind drifts into reflection upon the trials you have been undergoing and your efforts given, the obstacles you have been facing.  While there may be a trophy you long to capture, a treasure you wish to unearth, or a beloved you hunger to kiss, you realize the power you seek is truly found within the rhythmic beat of your own heart.

The Full Moon in Scorpio on May 10 has an intensity rooted in our relationship with power.  As the Moon waxes toward its apex of full light, the Moon will form an exact sextile with Pluto while the Sun will form a trine with Pluto.  Mars, the ruler of the lunation, is exceptionally active in Gemini and in strong aspect to both Neptune and Jupiter.   The Full Moon will be ideal for feeling into the subconscious depths that source our power and for simultaneously shedding dead skin while stepping into a more fully embodied authority and authorship in life.   A Full Moon in Scorpio beckons us to feel all of our emotions and the aching yearning for what we desire most to hold or possess.  Yet the crucial lesson we find in the polarity between Taurus and Scorpio is the necessity of embracing the transitory flux of our lives in which forms are constantly coming into manifestation and then passing away.

The Scorpio Full Moon is not applying to aspects with other planets, but does arrive at the crossroads moment of the lunar nodes shifting from Pisces and Virgo into Aquarius and Leo.  This shift results in the Full Moon applying to a square with the North Node of the Moon in Leo and the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius.  The lunar nodes have been in Virgo and Pisces since November of 2015, and so the Full Moon shines a spotlight on the creative empowerment that will come with the North Node of the Moon entering Leo.  The North Node in Leo is especially amplified as it forms a fiery triangle with Mercury conjoining Uranus in Aries and with Saturn in Sagittarius.  The conjunction with Mercury and Uranus is exact as the ascending node of the Moon enters Leo, bringing a Promethean message of emancipation and the challenge to claim full responsibility and authority in co-creating the life you most deeply desire to live.

The power available in the aspects surrounding the Scorpio Full Moon will bring genuine strength when sourced from an open heart in touch with both inner desires as well as the external emotions of others.  While the North Node shift into Leo sounds exciting in terms of increased creativity and a noble embrace of living life more fully, there are myriad levels of its shadow we will see playing out on personal and collective levels.  For one, the shadow of the North Node in Leo combined with the other astrological transits this year can lead those in power or benefitting from established power structures to cling even more tightly to their grip on what has been bringing them a sense of prosperity and security, at the detriment to others if necessary.  Likewise, the combination of the North Node in Leo with the South Node in Aquarius can lead many to act solely out of self interest without regard for the consequences of their actions.  The shadow of the South Node in Aquarius in this way is a disassociated, detached perspective that either rationalizes or ignores how one’s actions are impacting others.

However, the South Node moving through Aquarius also brings the capacity to harness awareness of collective concerns, dynamics, and needs to fuel strong and dynamic leadership that initiates direct action to heal and harmonize the divisive fragmentation currently overwhelming our global populace.  Aquarius is a sign of the humanitarian as well as the societal rebel, outcast, hermit, heretic, or outsider, and so the South Node in the sign of the Water Bearer also brings the opportunity to source our hearts with the feelings we have experienced when feeling on the outside, marginalized, exiled, or not fitting in with consensus views.  Instead of going into further isolation with feelings of being different, the North Node in Leo calls us to fully embody our radical nature and radiate our full capacities no matter how far from the norm they appear to others.  It is also a time to have greater compassion for those placed into exile and on the outside of the current dominant culture and power paradigm, and to take individual initiative to mediate the many collective crises erupting.

white-fire-med

White Fire (1949) by Enrico Donati

Mars in Gemini

Mars in Gemini rules the Full Moon in Scorpio and is applying closely to a challenging square with Neptune and a stabilizing trine with Jupiter.   The square between Mars and Neptune is applying tightly as the Full Moon peaks and brings the most dramatic coloring to what will be a very emotional lunation full of big feelings.  Mars in Gemini can be the heroic messenger who doggedly and determinedly finds a way to collect the information needed, retrieve the missing piece that will bring greater wholeness. Yet Mars in Gemini can also be a crusading idealist obsessed with one’s own vision, and the strong aspects between Mars with Neptune and Jupiter means there will be dissonant diatribes and cacophony, as players vying for power from different perspectives clash in clamorous uproar.

On a personal level the square between Mars and Neptune suggests overcoming a challenge or confrontation regarding one’s beliefs, spirituality, or idealistic vision, either realizing the necessity of persisting in the face of external challenges or gaining awareness that aspects of our beliefs have been illusory in one way or another and now need to be re-adjusted to our current experience.  The trine between Mars and Jupiter brings a lot of productive push into the social realm, being both more interactive within our collective networks as well as being able to bring a more lighthearted positivity into current predicaments rather than angry negativity.   Yet the square between Mars and Neptune is so tight at the Full Moon it will be important to feel all of ones emotions, listening and learning from them so as to release them, so that we do not become mired in difficult feelings we are trying to repress or deny.  Altogether the dynamic aspects surrounding Mars support connecting deeply within and using inner desire to fuel active engagement in the world.

During the waning half of the lunar cycle Mars will separate from its harmonious trine with Jupiter and begin applying to an opposition with Saturn in Sagittarius and a sextile with Uranus in Aries.  Mars in Gemini is very active and social with an ability to focus in numerous directions, but its encroaching opposition with Saturn on the horizon is a call to have focused accountability for our most important priorities and the work and visions we are most deeply invested in completing.  Mars will not perfect its opposition with Saturn until the very end of the month following the New Moon in Gemini, however, and so we have a few weeks to work with this building dynamic.  This will be the first opposition to come between Saturn and Mars since their dramatic dance during 2016 when Mars went retrograde as part of its initiatory conjunction with both Saturn and Antares at the end of August 2016.  Whatever we began to set into motion in our life in August and September of 2016 we can now reflect upon with regards to what has been working optimally and what needs greater adjustment or changed completely.

rivieres-crepuscule-med

Rivieres, Crepuscule (1943) by Enrico Donati

Venus in Aries & Jupiter in Libra

Venus is shining brightly as a Morning Star in the moist darkness before sunrise, retracing her steps in Aries that she has previously moved both direct and backwards across since February.  This is the third time that Venus has moved across the first decan of Aries, and she has now completely emerged from her meeting with Chiron and Saturn with the capacity to awaken newfound strength on the playing field of life.   Venus has a more competitive edge now and corresponds with feeling emboldened to go after what we want to create.  Saturn and Chiron have also now perfected their most recent challenging square aspect, which most likely brought up old wounds in need of tending regarding our identity and the old stories we identify with.  Saturn and Chiron have pointed Venus toward building life plans and goals in total integrity with true inner values, and Venus now calls us to boldly initiate accordingly.

During the waning half of the current lunar cycle, Venus will form an opposition with Jupiter at about the same time she finally leaves her retrograde shadow zone on May 19. The recent Venus retrograde in Aries and Pisces has been the pivotal phase of Jupiter’s time in Libra in which we have gained the opportunity to not only reevaluate our relationships but most importantly the way in which we have been engaging within them.  Since Jupiter is in the home of Venus it means that Venus will be receiving Jupiter as they form their opposition, a pleasing gift for Venus considering her harsh square with an unreceptive Saturn last month.  Oppositions always require effort to bring about optimal outcomes, however, and one prime area to focus on with this aspect will be in listening.  Listening to the needs of others, both spoken and unspoken, as well as listening to our own feelings and inner guidance, we will gain the capacity to make invaluable course corrections and deeper investments.

Adding an extra layer to the relational opposition between Venus and Jupiter is the asteroid Juno.  Juno is within one degree of a conjunction with Pluto at the time of the Full Moon, while also stationing retrograde. While the stationing of asteroids normally do not draw much astrological attention it highlights the fact that Juno has been in range of a conjunction with Pluto for the past month during a Venus retrograde time period.  Juno began getting close to Pluto back in early April when Venus moved retrograde back into the sign of Pisces, and since that time has remained within close proximity with Pluto, getting especially close once Venus stationed direct.  The focus for many is on finding their ideal partner, yet the proximity of Juno and Pluto begs us to open awareness to how we ourselves can become the ideal partner for others.  The Full Moon lights up the old relationship issues that could get in the way of creating our ideal relationship in this very moment.  Releasing resistance to what we need to own about ourselves, we gain the capacity to make true lasting change in the way we relate, fertilizing the fruitful potential of our relationships in coming months and years.

Seraphin screeen

Fortissimo screen (1925-6) designed by Seraphin Soudbinine

Mercury & Uranus in Aries

Mercury is finally beginning to separate from its conjunction with Uranus at the Full Moon, while applying closely to a trine with Saturn in Sagittarius.  As a result of its recent Mercury retrograde phase, the Star of Hermes has spent the past three weeks in range of a conjunction with Uranus.  The Full Moon will fully unleash the meaning we have been gestating and generating during this prolonged union between the messenger and the liberator.  Mercury is now fully visible as a Morning Star, joining Venus as a herald to the rising of our Sun each morning.  This means Mercury can eloquently and clearly transmit the Uranian message we need to receive in case we have been missing the signs in the past weeks.  Mercury and Uranus have been bringing opportunities to break out of old patterns that became too constrictive and to embrace new ways of perceiving that facilitate freely drifting into the currents aligned with our essentiality.

With Mercury in Aries now applying closely to a trine with Saturn slowly moving retrograde in Sagittarius, the Full Moon ushers us into a week in which to take direct action in restructuring the elements of our life needed to fully step into the liberation burst open by Mercury and Uranus.  With persistent effort drawing upon the disciplined focus of Saturn, this is an ideal time to clear out whatever has been holding you back from taking full authority in your life and simply go for it.  As the Moon begins to wane through Sagittarius in the days after the Full Moon, it will form a continuous stream of aspects with Venus, Mars, Neptune, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury, Saturn, and the lunar nodes.  The waning lunar cycle following the Full Moon is full of fast moving and inspirational transits which will correspond with both heated conflict in the social realm as well as a potent charge that can activate greater self empowerment.

7_cups_RWS_lg

7 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 3 Decan

The Full Moon arises in the third decan of Scorpio, associated with the Seven of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image each of the seven chalices holds an embodiment of a desire, such as fame, fortune, lust and other earthly powers.  The veiled figure in the center brings to mind the burning desire of Sophia in gnostic texts to gain ultimate understanding, a desire it is said that cast a veil whose shadow became the material world we traverse often overwhelmed by desire like the shadowy figure in the image.  Some interpret the image as signifying that through discernment we may choose to follow the one desire that will bring clarity and increased opportunities for more choices aligned with our inner values and desires.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces linked the Seven of Cups to the third face of Scorpio through their shared meaning of becoming dominated by obsessive desires.   Coppock ascribed the image of “A Crow” to the third decan of Scorpio, noting that its essence involves the putrefaction of desire that leads to direct contact with the nature of desire.  Coppock posited that through the loss of unfulfilled desire, the process of separating our desire from the external objects of desires brings the ability to reseed and regenerate core desires.  Befitting the union of Mercury and Uranus at the Full Moon, Coppock wrote that the third face of Scorpio contains a “formula of liberation, for if we were not capable of laying our desires to rest, returning them to pure energy, we would be enchained forever, prisoners of what we once held dear.”

While Coppock pointed out that many older images associated with the decan hold the symbolism of drunken, uncontrolled desires of a ferocious and violent quality, I am most intrigued by an image in the Liber Hermetis that contains “a human body and the form of a he-goat, holding eggs hanging from a thread in both hands.”  The eggs strung by thread suggests to me a meaning we can find in the final face of Scorpio that involves the fertility of destiny and the ripening of the moment.  Along these lines, it is further fascinating to consider that the ancient Hellenistic fragmentary text 36 Airs ascribed Kairos to the third face of Scorpio.  You are likely familiar with the term kairos referring to the opportune moment for something to occur that is not confined to the demands of chronological time.  Yet Kairos in Greek myth was the youngest son of Zeus as well as the lover of Fortuna, an embodiment of luck and favorable opportunities.  Kairos was seen as always moving with winged feet not unlike Hermes, carrying a razor or scales that represent the fleeting moment in which opportunity comes and goes, the moment we need to seize and not neglect.

Venus rules the third face of Scorpio, and though Venus is instead residing in the first face of Aries at the Full Moon, she is within her own bounds and so has some essential dignity to pursue and possess her desires.  As Venus is finally getting close to leaving her retrograde shadow zone, the Scorpio Full Moon illuminates whatever lessons we have had to learn regarding our desire nature over the course of the past months of Venus moving backwards and forward again.   What has come up for you in terms of worldly ambition, who you want to be, what you want to achieve, or who you want to be bound to in love and intimacy?  When the opportunity arrives in coming weeks to live a life more fully aligned with your true desires, don’t be afraid to take hold of it with aplomb.

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Saturn in Scorpio

Saturn in Scorpio

Art by Talia Migliaccio from http://www.taliamigliaccio.com

Saturn Returns in Scorpio

Saturn returns for a final pass through the sign of Scorpio from June 14 – September 17, 2015, after previously having been in the sign of Scorpio from October 6, 2012 – December 23, 2014.  Saturn holds the planetary position of being the limit of light reflected back to us and represents both our limitations as well as our transcendence of existence, and the liberation we can experience in the deconstruction of darkness.  Saturn signifies our skeletal structure and the structure of our consciousness, the boundary between our imagination and body.  Saturn is time and space, the conditions of form and conditioning of culture that shape our reality.  Saturn rewards hard work, discipline, seriousness, commitment, and contemplation. Saturn can be associated with rites of passage and tasks for us to accomplish, and so its shift from Sagittarius to Scorpio could feel harsh as Saturn changes from a fiery, expansive, crusading sign to a watery, condensed, purifying sign of core depth demanding honesty.

sag shooting dragon (1)

At the Northwest Astrology Conference of 2015 I saw a lecture on Saturn in Sagittarius presented by Lynn Bell entitled Beggaring Belief, and she included numerous images of Sagittarius from Persia and other cultures in which the centaur archer is aiming at it’s own tail in the shape of a dragon or serpent.  Lynn linked this to fears associated with Saturn in Sagittarius having to do with not knowing how to move forward or moving in the wrong direction, and the idea that we must look behind us and see what is rising up and deal with the shadows and demons we find there before moving forward.  Lynn also noted these images are fascinating considering that the archer in the constellation of Sagittarius is aiming it’s arrow toward the claws of the Scorpio constellation as well as Ophiuchus the serpent handler, and even more directly at the point in space we have defined as our Galactic Center.  Lynn made the profound point that Sagittarius only experiences an initiation into wisdom when it has the courage to look behind it at something it has previously refused to acknowledge. She concluded that we can not afford to rush forward without asking questions at this time, and that during Saturn’s return to the sign of Scorpio we will need to handle something that has the power to either destroy or heal.

Considering Saturn’s association with time, space, and conditioning, we can sense how the shift of Saturn from a mutable fire sign into a fixed water sign correlates with a shift from an active, surging pace into a slower tempo that emphasizes letting events unfold in their own time instead of trying to force things.  Scorpio is yin in contrast to the yang of Sagittarius, and so we move into an atmosphere more about magnetism and giving form to what we are receiving.  Themes around security, stability, and inner-work will become more important, as Scorpio is a fixed sign that stabilizes action and bolsters Saturn’s gift for persistence and endurance.  Since Scorpio is a water sign, this further deepens the potency of unconscious forces during this time period, and the importance of taking care of our inner life so we can steady emotions, avoid denial, and take responsibility for all aspects of our life, including the areas we prefer to keep hidden or not acknowledge.  Of course, most people will not be on this idealistic path, and there is also the other side of the cold, calculating, and venomous scorpion to contend with, leading to martial waves of contention and manipulation of power.

Scorpio is a fertile home for the shadowy Saturn, as Scorpio is a sign that tests the limits of our identity structures and existence, the very stuff of Saturn.  Scorpio connects to the taboo and everything that stretches the boundaries of our existence, not only death but also mediums such as sexuality and spirituality through which the fixed intensity of Scorpio can facilitate a death of our ego. Embracing Scorpio full-on can be scary for our personality identification, because in our deepest merging, such as sexual union, we transcend individual identity. This aspect of sex was described by Sabina Spielrein (Mercury, Moon, Sun conjunct in Scorpio) in Destruction as the Cause of Coming into Being, in which she argued that the sex drive contains instincts for both destruction and transformation, as lovers experience a death of their individual egos through their sexual transformation into a merged entity.  In a spiritual sense, Scorpio’s fixity of feeling can create overpowering desire to meditate or merge into the realm of Spirit as much as possible, dissolving ego boundaries.

Saturn’s significations with maintaining boundaries of form in Scorpio can create fear around the places in our life where we can experience this transformative merging and loss of past identity.  The sign of Scorpio can also fear being abandoned or betrayed, and in order to cope a Saturnine compulsion to control situations, sources of power, or other people could overcome many during this transit.  Most destructively, when hurt the cold nature of Saturn in Scorpio could strike back with vengeful action.  Yet as Dane Rudhyar wrote, the over arching reason behind these feelings is that Scorpio holds “the urge in the individual to merge in absolute union with other individuals in order to constitute together a greater organic whole.”  The ultimate potential and promise of Saturn’s return to Scorpio is to open us to the darkest feelings and issues we have been attempting to deny, so that we can enter a process that at first feels chaotic, but then leads to the possibility of purifying and re-structuring ourselves around core principles of love and heart-centeredness. This takes conscious effort, however, and since many around us may not be up to this task, it will be helpful to draw upon the psychic sensitivity of the scorpion when navigating our daily path.

Scorpio by Bayer

Scorpio constellation from “Uranometria” by Johannes Bayer

Saturn Retrograde in Scorpio

Saturn will be retrograde in Scorpio during this time period from June 14 to August 1, 2015.  The last time Saturn was retrograde in Scorpio was from March through July 2014 between 24 and 16 degrees.  Saturn retrograde pulls us into a process of core re-structuring, and in Scorpio the deconstruction and decay of Saturn will feel more like watery dissolution.  As we experience revelations of what has been hidden and secret, what we have been denying because of it being taboo, we are given choices to be in avoidance or take ownership of the issues.  Hypocrisy will be exposed in others and in ourselves, and we can use these difficult experiences to fertilize new growth that will be more authentic.  To take active control we can consciously make structural, organizational changes in our life in order to work with this transformative process.

Saturn was previously in Scorpio from December 1923 – December 1926, October 1953 – October 1956, and December 1982 – November 1985.  Out of the these time periods, only in the year 1956 did Saturn retrograde back into Scorpio from Sagittarius as it is doing so now.  In 1956 Saturn entered Sagittarius in January, stationed retrograde in mid-March, and then re-entered Scorpio in May where it stayed into October 1956.  In the United States of America, racism was actively faced and major events of this period centered around the decision of Rosa Parks to refuse to give up her seat on a bus.  The Montgomery Bus Boycotts commenced as Saturn was moving direct in Scorpio, and continued as Saturn entered Sagittarius and a civil rights leader with a Saturn in Sagittarius, Martin Luther King, rose to prominence.  Ultimately, a federal district court found Alabama’s segregation laws unconstitutional when Saturn had returned to Scorpio in June 1956, and the U.S. Supreme Court also found the laws unconstitutional once Saturn had returned to Sagittarius in November 1956.  Despite these legal victories, racism persisted, and has persisted through today’s current events revolving around the Black Lives Matter movement that began during Saturn’s time in Scorpio.

The horrific terrorist attack in a Charleston, South Carolina black church, motivated from the racist roots of the United States of America, has forced a confrontation with both institutional racism and overt symbols of racism in the South such as the Confederate flag.  Structural racism, such as educational racism and racist law enforcement practices have been a part of the American fabric for decades since the time of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King.  However, Saturn’s trip through Scorpio has brought about a reckoning and these longstanding issues have finally come to the forefront of daily conversations and news media coverage.  Saturn in Scorpio connects with the racist symbolism of streets named after Confederate, slave owning figures in the South that are more widely being criticized suddenly, as well as the efforts to remove the Confederate flag from government buildings.  Yet simply removing the outer manifestations of racism such as the Confederate flag does nothing to change the underlying racism embedded in systematic structure, and this is the task now being discussed at an amplified level of public discourse.  I recently heard the Reverend Al Sharpton interviewed in which he said something to the effect that we do not want the confederates to get away with “changing the curtains” without making structural changes.  No doubt events around these issues will be intensifying during Saturn’s retrograde, station, and direct forward motion in Scorpio.

Saturn in Scorpio reflection-seascape

Lake George (1922) by Georgia O’Keeffe

Saturn Direct in Scorpio

Saturn will be direct in Scorpio from August 1 through September 17, 2015.  While the image above showcasing the depth of lakes embodies Scorpio, we are unlikely to experience still waters at this time.  This is because as Saturn stations direct at 28°17′ Scorpio, Jupiter will directly initiate the last quarter square of their cycle on August 3, two days after Saturn’s exact station.  This Jupiter and Saturn square happens within the Venus retrograde cycle in Leo, and Venus is intimately involved with this square, as Venus retrograde will conjunct Jupiter on August 4 and then square Saturn on August 5.  The Jupiter and Saturn cycle is one of the most pivotal in astrology, and we are in a cycle that began in Taurus in 2000 and reached opposition in 2010 in both Pisces (Jupiter) / Virgo (Saturn) and Aries (Jupiter) / Libra (Saturn).  Venus being retrograde and exactly aligned with this square will amplify the drama and conflict of this aspect, bringing about confrontations at a core level.

Dane Rudhyar described the last quarter square as a “crisis in consciousness,” and this meaning is especially relevant to one between Jupiter and Saturn.  This is the square that follows the illumination of the full opposition (2010 – 2011), and the ripening of the message received at the disseminating trine, which occurred while Saturn was previously in Scorpio and Jupiter was in Cancer three times in 2013 and 2014.  The disseminating trines between Saturn in Scorpio and Jupiter in Cancer occurred within an intense astrological climate that involved exact squares between Pluto and Uranus, and so this was a cathartic process of growth.  At the stage of the last quarter square we are now heading toward, all of the conflicting strands of thought coming from within ourselves and from our external relationships that have been building in the last few years come to a head.  This aspect causes us to question the thought patterns we have been acting from, a time of reorientation in which the scythe of Saturn cuts away old structures, beliefs, and conditionings we have outgrown.  This is not the final last quarter square between Jupiter and Saturn, as we will have more in the future with Jupiter in Virgo and Saturn in Sagittarius, but since this is the first of the series and Venus is involved retrograde, it could feel dramatic in terms of inner disorientation and disillusionment.

Saturn stationing direct and being hit simultaneously with a last quarter square from Jupiter in Leo has it’s greatest potential placed around the hard-earned growth we experience when courageously facing the most difficult truths, issues in the past we avoided or were in denial of.  Jupiter in Leo holds an advantageous position in this square, and so expressing the full range of drama we feel within and creatively processing it through work in our environment can lead us into a shedding of the inessential and a deepening of the essential.  This is a time of bravely stepping through the fiery underworld to confront inner and outer demons, maintaining disciplined focus on our core passions with resolute commitment.  Sounds easy, right?  The “hero or heroine’s journey” popularly utilized in modern psychology fits here, and out of our trials our awareness of what holds the most solidity in our life will become clarified.

Saturn in Scorpio III decan

7 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio III Decan

Saturn will spend the entirety of it’s remaining time in Scorpio at the tail end of the third decan of Scorpio, a decan associated with the 7 of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In this image we see seven chalices holding strange visions floating above a figure cloaked in shadow.  The images held in the chalices are associated with common human desires such as fame, wealth, love, power, and transformation, yet the cynosure of this assembly appears to be a veiled figure with open arms emerging from the center cup.  This card is often associated with being overcome by visions to choose from in an atmosphere of illusion and temptation, most of which if not all are unlikely to lead to anything solid we can sustain.  There is also a practice of interpreting the card as indicating the possibility of discerning the one choice that will bring clarity, illumination, and increased opportunities for choices one desires.

Fittingly, Venus is the ruler of this decan as she could be interpreted as our inner source of desired visions emanating above our horizon.  With regards to this final transit of Saturn through the third decan of Scorpio, it is further apt that the astrological climate of this time will be dominated by Venus retrograde in the dramatically visionary sign of Leo.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces linked the 7 of Cups to the third decan of Scorpio through fixation on fantasies and being dominated by obsessive desires.  Coppock suggested that the illusions of desires and the loss of being separated from the object of our desire takes us into a destruction and regeneration process and lessons involving the core nature of desire:

This is ultimately a face of wrestling with one’s own desire nature, for it leads one inevitably back to confrontation with the nature of desire itself.  It is the property of no one else.  The floating cloud of fantasies must be recognized as wholly one’s own . . . It is a matter of the transformation of a desire rather than its immediate gratification in sense-objects . . . The process truly described is the dissolution or putrefaction of desires back into their raw, un-structured form- their prima materia . . . We bury the corpse of past loves and wait for the flowers to grow from their graves . . . When desire’s hungry ghosts have finally been laid to rest, the compost is complete, and a rich loam results.  In the grave soil of yesterday’s loves, anything can grow.  This face is thus a formula of liberation, for if we were not capable of laying our desires to rest, returning them to pure energy, we would be enchained forever, prisoners of what we once held dear.       (p. 187-188).

Saturn in Scorpio opens before us like a cavernous tunnel into an underworld holding deep, dark waters to dissolve and purify our desire nature.  In the shedding or destruction of outgrown structures and identities we will realize a deeper meaning of life to live from, even when events push us to the brink with difficulty.  The new patterns of thought that will arise from the ashes will be the source of later visions to come, and the desires we discern to be centered deep in our heart will become regenerated.  Saturn now gives us the task of honestly processing our internal thoughts, beliefs, and desires, while simultaneously needing to confront all the beliefs surrounding us in consensus culture as well as other sources that could potentially condition our thinking.  This is an initial phase of questioning beliefs that will be deepening as Jupiter later shifts into Virgo, Saturn shifts into Sagittarius, and the lunar nodes shift into Virgo and Pisces.

References

Bell, Lynn. (2015). Beggaring Belief – Saturn in Sagittarius. NORWAC: May 24, 2015.

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.